Taste Test
(First posted February 9, 2007)
Rating:  G.
Disclaimer:  The characters and universe of Farscape are the property of the Henson Co.  I have not made
any profit off this tale, and I’ll do my best to give the characters back the way I found them.     
Time Frame:  Approximately 25-30 cycles prior to Crichton’s arrival in the Uncharted Territories.
Test Driver:  As always … PKLibrarian.  One of these days, she really ought to consider installing airbags in
that test vehicle of hers.  The ride this time was a little bumpier than usual.

2nd Starburst Challenge (hosted by VTNJScaper):  Write a fic that takes place during the childhood of any of
the recurring characters, and include just a bit of foreshadowing into the character’s Farscape future (the
foreshadowing does not need to drive the story; it can just be a tiny blip in the background).

Note to the reader:  When the Youses Muses Gang got a glimpse of this challenge, they went charging right
off into the Land of Obscurity … in other words this story involves two relatively minor characters.  None of our
favorite recurring characters make an appearance.  Since I managed to send my poor test driver, PKLibrarian,
hurtling into a bottomless gulch of confusion when she read this, I will give away that one of my characters is
from Losing Time.  The other is ... well, you're just going to have to read the story in order to find out.

Hope you enjoy it.


*  *  *  *  *

He hadn’t intended to hurt anyone.  

He only wanted to play.  

No, Tallip, one of the elders admonished him.  You must not touch them in that manner.  Never, never do that.  
They are fragile
.  She surrounded him with her energy, pulled him free of his residence inside with the small
sentient creature.  

But --  He let the thought drift away unfinished.  Arguing never accomplished anything.  The elders seldom
admitted they were anything but right.  

But what? the elder asked.  

Tallip did his best to show her.  He tried to explain why he had chosen this specific alien creature --one made
up of uninteresting matter rather than energy -- to be his new friend.  It had been the gaily spiking mental
energy flowing from the being that had beckoned to him; it had been the celebration of life that gushed forth,
the orderly but constantly bounding imagination, the brightness that had reached out to Tallip like a beacon.  
He had known from the first moment he sensed its life signs that this individual was an immature form of the
species.  That had only served to increase his curiosity and his desire to learn more about it.  

He had wanted to share his knowledge of the universe with the first youngster he had ever encountered that he
thought might be able to understand.  Tallip and his kind sailed through the ether, surrounded by the ever-
shifting beauty of ion storms, of interstellar plasma, and the achingly beautiful glow of charged particles swept
into ethereal patterns by the last breathless gusts of far-reaching solar winds.  No one else could splash so
messily through a nebula; ricochet off the condensing gravity of a slowly compacting cloud of matter that would
some day become a star; or swoop in lazy patterns through a hazy cloud of atoms until their outer shells ran
layers thick with amorphous matter, and then streak away in a graceful arc, trailing a beacon of glowing matter.  

Most importantly, few other species knew how to play.  Tallip wanted someone to play with him.  All the other
energy riders in his clan were too old to indulge in frivolous games.  The little one he had touched liked to play.  
Tallip was certain of that.  He had felt it from half a solar system away.   

No more tasting, the elder chastised him gently.  Not even if it is only to play.  They are too easily damaged.  
See what you have done.  The little one’s patterns have been permanently altered.
   

Tallip learned a new emotion in that instant:  Guilt.  The elder was right.  He had damaged the being that he
had hoped would be his friend.  The gay colors were gone, as were the ricocheting, soaring harmonies that had
been flooding from its brain in complex auras.  The tones had soured; the threads of thought were snarled into
distasteful tangles, turning back in on themselves, sucking the light and bright colors out of the creature’s
existence.  

I’m sorry, Tallip cried, discovering psychic agony both within and without.  Can’t someone fix it?

No.  Once damaged, they can never be restored.
 The elder caressed him for a moment, wrapping a wing of
sympathetic energy around him.  
You did not mean to hurt it.  There will be no punishment.  But it must never
happen again.  Do you understand?

Yes,
Tallip moaned on a dissonant frequency.  I promise.

The elder coasted away, leaving Tallip to reflect on his crime and the fact that it had gone unpunished.  He
made a silent vow, one that none of the others could detect.  He would take the elder’s admonishment to heart;
he would make sure it never happened again.  From this moment forward, he would dedicate his existence to
making sure that no energy rider ever damaged a member of a weak, defenseless species again.  

Come, the combined intellects of the entire clan sang to him.  It is time to go … time to move on.

He ignored the summons, lingering, searching, seeking some sign that what he had done was not as
catastrophic as the elder had pronounced.  Instead, the devastation had continued.  The bright spark was
gone, replaced by a malevolent mentality.  It was every bit as brilliant as it had been since the day it was born,
just as exceptionally intelligent as before, but dark with twisted intent.  

This is my fault, Tallip called to the damaged being, knowing as he did that his message could not be heard.  It
was something he needed to say anyway.  
I’m sorry I damaged you, Kaarvok.  Forgive me.


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